What are the basis of collective resilience, i.e. the ability of a team to bounce back in the most difficult situations?

Author(s): Bradley L. Kirkman, Adam C. Stoverink

Publisher: Stanford Business Books

Date of publication: 2023

Manageris opinion

Bradley L. Kirkman, Distinguished Professor of Leadership at North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management, and Adam Stoverink, MBA Director at the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business, asked themselves what enables some teams to bounce back in the most difficult situations. How do they manage to regain or improve their level of performance despite a crisis, when others fall apart? To this end, they studied numerous teams faced with extreme situations—astronauts preparing for an imminent space mission, divers tasked with rescuing people trapped in a cave as the waters rise—or more common but nonetheless trying work situations—a team of consultants confronted with the dissatisfaction of a key client, a marketing team switching overnight to full-time remote working on the eve of a strategic launch… Their research has challenged a commonly held belief about resilience, namely that it is an extraordinary faculty specific to certain individuals, which reveals itself in crisis situations. On the contrary, according to the authors, the most resilient teams are those that have prepared themselves to face adversity, by deliberately reinforcing the four pillars of collective resilience: the team’s confidence in itself, psychological security, the consolidation of a shared roadmap and, finally, the ability to improvise collectively. The authors provide precious advice for managers wishing to prepare their teams to tackle periods of difficulty.